Nancy Parks Anderson Donnan Murray, ageless, of Black Mountain, NC, died on November 8, 2020 at Givens Highland Farms Retirement Community.
Born in Erwin, NC in 1927, she was the oldest daughter of Paul Blair Parks, Jr, and Ella Whitted Parks. She was also preceded in death by her three husbands, Dr. Frank P. Anderson, Jr. (her Augusta, GA years), Robert A. Donnan (her Beaufort, NC years), and Carl C. Murray (her Black Mountain, NC years).
Nancy is survived by her sister Betty Parks Mann (and her husband Dr. Harold Mann) now in Winchester, VA, and her brother Dr. Paul B. Parks III (and his wife Patsy Parks) of Aiken, SC.
Nancy and Frank’s five children are Betsy Blair (Dale Evarts) of Durham, NC, AD Anderson (Linda Kinney) of Swannanoa, NC, Susan Ganz (Peter Ganz) of Arlington, VA, Ellen Anderson (Kent Turner) of Mount Vernon, WA and Lee Just (Chris Just) of Black Mountain, NC. Her five grandchildren are Jessie Turner, Nolan Just (Lizzy Barmore Just), Bret Turner, Sam Just (Jenna Mace), and Ali Evarts (Matt Taylor). Her great-granddaughter is Roberta Just. Known by her extended family as Nanny, she also loved and was loved by the children and grandchildren of her second and third husbands as well as numerous in-laws, nieces, and nephews.
Nancy was a very cheerful person who made friends easily and contributed significantly to the various communities she lived in over her lifetime. She grew up in Erwin, moved to Durham as a teen, and graduated from Durham High School. She also graduated from Agnes Scott College (class of 1949), rooming with Angie Anderson, who introduced Nancy to her brother, Frank.
During her marriage to Frank, they raised their children in Augusta, GA. He took care of patients with polio and cystic fibrosis and taught at the Medical College of Georgia while Nancy was active in the League of Women Voters and the Augusta Symphony Guild. She also volunteered with the Head Start Program. During the 1960’s she worked at Paine College (an historically black college) in public relations and was active in the Civil Rights movement in Augusta.
During the 1970’s she worked for the American Red Cross as Teen Volunteer Coordinator. After Frank’s death in 1976, she continued the work they had started to help envision and create Oglethorpe Park, now called the Augusta Riverwalk, along the Savannah River. In her later life, Nancy said that she felt that helping to start this park was her greatest accomplishment as a volunteer. Throughout her years in Augusta, Nancy was also active at Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church, where she became the congregation’s first female elder.
Six years after Frank’s death, she fell in love with and married Bob Donnan. On his retirement from IBM in Chapel Hill, Bob continued to be active in International Electronics and Electrical Engineering (IEEE) as a consultant to national and international computer businesses. Nancy enjoyed accompanying him to professional gatherings in many countries around the world, putting her English degree to work as his unofficial “secretary”. Bob and Nancy eventually settled into a home in Beaufort, NC, where they enjoyed restoring her old wooden boat they renamed “Second Love”. A history buff, she also became a member of the Friends of Fort Macon and served as chairman of the newly organized volunteer tour guides for the well-preserved Fort. Nancy became an active member of the First Presbyterian Church in Morehead City. During her years there, she served as Moderator of Presbyterian Women in her church.
After Bob’s death in 2005, Nancy returned briefly to Durham and then made her home in the Highland Farms Retirement Community in Black Mountain, living in the summers at Lookaloft, the Anderson family cabin in Montreat, where she hosted many friends, siblings, adult children, and grandchildren.
It was at Highland Farms that she met and married Carl Murray, a retired Presbyterian minister, when they were both in their 80’s. The two of them were active in various capacities in the Black Mountain Presbyterian Church. Nancy served the Rebekah Circle for members of this congregation who lived at Highland Farms and were physically unable to attend off campus. Nancy enjoyed the company of the many interesting people at Highland Farms, and, for several years, chaired a creative writing club there called The Scribblers.
Nancy had a very open heart and generous nature. She will be dearly missed by her large extended family and her loving friends. The family wishes to thank the many companions and the Givens Highland Farms staff for helping care for Nanny in the final phase of her life.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Black Mountain Home for Children, Youth & Families https://www.blackmountainhome.org/ or to Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry http://www.svcmblackmountain.org/.
Penland Family Funeral Home is honored to be assisting the Murray family with arrangements.
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